A dozen construction workers in Odenton, Maryland were transported to local hospitals on Tuesday, July 17 after apparent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, according to local fire officials.
Crews began working on a federal credit union building around 5am Tuesday morning and between 8am and 9am, several workers began feeling sick, prompting a call to 911. According to CBS Baltimore, propane powered saws were being used indoors that morning and is the likely cause of the incident.
When firefighters arrived, they measured carbon monoxide levels of up to 850 parts per million (ppm) inside the credit union. According to the CSPC, ppm amounts as low as 70 can cause symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and nausea. At sustained levels of 150 to 200 ppm, more severe symptoms like disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.
3 of the victims were treated for serious symptoms and the other 9 were treated for possibly serious symptoms. Fire officials stayed on the site after the workers were transported to ventilate the building and bring the inside air down to safe levels.
As a reminder, CO is a colorless and odorless gas that is otherwise undetectable until symptoms appear. Even small propane powered tools have the ability to quickly fill an indoor space with CO. The CDC has a few recommendations to reduce the hazards of carbon monoxide on the jobsite, including not allowing gas powered equipment to be used indoors unless the engines can be located outside and away from air intakes and educating employees to recognize the common signs of CO overexposure. Electric powered or compressed air equipment should be used indoors, when possible. If it is impossible to avoid using gas powered equipment, employees can be outfitted with personal CO monitors to alert them if unsafe levels have been reached.
Full story: 12 Hospitalized After Carbon Monoxide Poisoning At Credit Union | CBS Baltimore